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Seven swimmers provisionally nominated to Paralympic team

News –

Following the cancellation of the Paralympic Swimming Trials, Swimming Canada’s Para Swimming Selection Committee has met and made key decisions aimed at providing certainty for swimmers, their coaches and their families.

The first of key decision is to provisionally nominate to Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games team seven swimmers who contested a final at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London:

  1. Camille Bérubé (Gatineau, Que.)
  2. Morgan Bird (Calgary)
  3. Danielle Dorris (Moncton, N.B.)
  4. Sabrina Duchesne (St-Augustin, Que.)
  5. Nikita Ens (Meadow Lake, Sask.)
  6. Abi Tripp (Kingston, Ont.)
  7. Zach Zona (Waterford, Ont.)

These seven swimmers join eight teammates originally nominated in late 2019 after meeting the Priority 1 standard of the original criteria as WPS Championships medallists. (Alexander Elliot, James Leroux, Shelby Newkirk, Aurelie Rivard, Tess Routliffe, Katarina Roxon, Nicolas-Guy Turbide, Aly Van Wyck-Smart)

“It is my great privilege to announce the nomination of these seven young men and women to our team for Tokyo from our Selection Committee,” said Associate High Performance Director and Para Swimming National Coach Wayne Lomas. “In a testament to their most recent international performances, as well as the ongoing commitment, dedication, patience and professionalism in the most trying of times that each of these swimmers and their coaches have demonstrated, nominating the swimmers to the 2020 Paralympic Games Team is a critical piece of certainty in a very uncertain time.

“The most recent international event to be conducted before the global COVID-19 pandemic was the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. The seven finalists from London have demonstrated that they can perform at this level and have the best opportunity to move up to a medal winning performance. These seven have shown, firstly through their selection to Team Canada in April 2019, and then again at the WPS Championships in September of the same year, that they have the ability to perform under pressure on the day that matters. That is a key requirement for our elite swimmers.”

The addition of the seven swimmers above means that, as per International Paralympic Committee rules, there are two female and two male positions remaining to be filled in Canada’s team.

Swimming Canada will fill the remaining four of Canada’s 19 positions (two male and two female) by inviting eligible swimmers to demonstrate competitive readiness via submission of training logs and data as well as a video-recorded time trial performance.

These performances must be submitted by 5 p.m. ET on May 30, and Swimming Canada will provide eligible swimmers with specific details in the coming days.

In line with International Paralympic Committee requirements, only swimmers who, after Oct. 18, 2018, have recorded the Minimal Qualifying Standard (MQS) for a Tokyo event in their sport class will be eligible to submit a time. Achieving a MQS is a requirement of the IPC and can only be done at a World Para Swimming sanctioned event.

“Announcing this decision today is not easy, and for some people, it will be sad,” said Associate High Performance Director and Para Swimming National Coach Wayne Lomas.

“Unfortunately, gaining a sanction for a World Para Swimming event in Canada now that the Trials have been cancelled will not be possible. As exciting as today’s announcement will be for the seven swimmers and their families who have been added to the team, the sadness and grief experienced by those who do not have an MQS will be just as great,” Lomas said. “After more than a year of doing everything asked of them to achieve selection in Canada’s 2020 Paralympic Team, we realize that today’s decision brings that dream for these swimmers to an end. That said, in determining the best way forward in the current circumstances, the selectors felt the best approach was to provide an opportunity for those who have already met the MQS to make the team.”

Due to a date conflict with the World Para Swimming event in Berlin, Swimming Canada’s Paralympic Program was not able to take part in the rescheduled Olympic Trials, which were moved from May 24-28 to June 19-23 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation in Ontario and other provinces.

“Today we congratulate seven swimmers on being nominated to Team Canada,” said CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “We also know some aspects of the decisions, while providing certainty, may be difficult for some. That said, I am confident that our selection committee has come to the best possible decision in an extremely difficult situation.”

“The pandemic has required Swimming Canada to make some very difficult decisions,” added President Cheryl Gibson. “Today’s decision was the result of balancing certainty against continued opportunity for nomination. We acknowledge that while this decision will be welcomed by many, it will be very challenging for others.”